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Old 09-09-2018, 08:53 AM
Jan Iwaszkiewicz's Avatar
Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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Default Bligh

Revision II

Bligh


Before the wind could whisper of a gale
my tongue would taste its presence in the air,
I’d feel the swell of ocean muscle hale
itself up from the deep, though all was fair.
Before the canvas cracked, before the flail
of rigging gave, before a spar could split
along some sap-wrought weakness in its grain,
before a cloud could clear its throat and spit,

I’d know, as though I’d scried this globe of pain
together with the One Who’d fashioned it.

I’m hard and I was born for hard command.
I’ve hammered down the sun and stars and nailed
their genius to my wake. I am the Hand
of God at sea and I have never failed
in duty nor have been by fear unmanned.
Yet I, despite all this, cannot exscind
that I am man who cannot fathom man
and I've been soft with those I’ve disciplined.

Again I'll have to chance my mortal span,
they’ve put me arse unbreeked, into the wind.

REVISION II

up from the deep, although all else was fair.

ORIGINAL

that I am soft with those I’ve disciplined.

And now, once more I’ll risk my mortal span,
they’ve put me arse unbreeked, into the wind.

Last edited by Jan Iwaszkiewicz; 09-16-2018 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 09-09-2018, 10:02 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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A better told tale I've not read here. Not chip away. Not me. Knot.
x
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Old 09-10-2018, 04:19 PM
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Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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Thank you Jim.

Jan
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Old 09-11-2018, 02:29 PM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Jan,
this is very well done--it creates a convincing voice.

I wonder about the word "hale" in L3; you appear to be using it as a verb, which however is not only archaic but means to drag or pull up (I guess like "haul"). The examples that I can find online are all transitive, so I am not sure if your usage here is correct, but this could just be my ignorance.

Best wishes,
Martin
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:27 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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I am so taken with this that I can overlook "hale" and take the poet's meaning from the tone of it. But if others find it hard, perhaps the end-rhymes squall/ haul would eliminate the difficulty?
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Old 09-13-2018, 07:09 AM
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Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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Martin and Ann

Thank you both.

'hale' is the right word:

verb archaic
verb: hale; 3rd person present: hales; past tense: haled; past participle: haled; gerund or present participle: haling

drag or draw forcibly.
"he haled an old man out of the audience"

Origin
Middle English: from Old French haler, from Old Norse hala .

Here, to feel the ocean's muscle forcibly dragged up from the deep, as the ocean is mainly benign. Sometimes it will overtly seem to change with the weather but often the power comes up from distant events and will appear to hale up from the deep.

I am glad you both liked it I am somewhat partial to it myself. *smile*

Jan
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:51 PM
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Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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Revision (slight) posted.
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Old 09-17-2018, 05:03 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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"hale" and "exscind" are forced for the rhyme (a common problem in your work)--in neither case does the meaning work. Because you can't/won't fix these obvious problems, your poem will remain forever flawed.

Yours,

Aaron
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:41 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Jan, Your justification in post #6 for using “hale” is persuasive:

verb archaic
verb: hale; 3rd person present: hales; past tense: haled; past participle: haled; gerund or present participle: haling

drag or draw forcibly.
"he haled an old man out of the audience

The meaning you’re invoking demonstrates a deep understanding of both the etymology of the word and the nature of the deep waters of the oceans. You nailed it, IMHO.

You give the word a depth that I didn’t know it had. I think, too, it is clearly understood by almost everyone as to what you’re saying and I think the crit is frivolous. Doesn’t poetry sometimes employ a logic of its own that can override such things as grammatical convention to achieve a higher purpose? The fortification of the word "hale" to be used to describe the muscle of the water is poetically daring -- and one that Captain Bligh himself, if he were a closet poet, might have delighted in using to describe the nature of the element that he knew like few others.

To your credit, “exscind” first came into usage around the time of Bligh’s birth and usage was at its height during his lifetime. He would have used it.
Forced rhyme is a matter of degree, yes? On a scale of 1 to 10 with “10” being the the most egregious forced rhyme, I would, at most, say it is a “5”. The power with which the story is told from start to finish overcomes any relative “flaw” of being forced. It works.

I may been over my head by defending such things as this but I think the poem deserves the praise it has gotten. Flawed? I fantasize about writing like this.
x
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 09-18-2018 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 09-17-2018, 07:45 PM
Curtis Gale Weeks Curtis Gale Weeks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Iwaszkiewicz View Post
Revision II

Again I'll have to chance my mortal span,
they’ve put me arse unbreeked, into the wind.
The first of these two lines seems off to me. It's not nearly forceful enough; it seems squeamish for the narrator, who here is pondering what he'll have to do — not what he will do — with the addition of an admission that it's all about chance, not his will. Finally, the N. seems too uncertain of that thing he calls his "mortal span," as if it were a matter of fate and not his own pugnacious approach to life and all its antagonistic grandeur.

Maybe something like this would be more interesting:

Again I will contest my mortal span,
they’ve put me arse unbreeked, into the wind.


—although I do wonder whether I'm reading the "joke" wrong.

I must contest might be better than will....Which I think, yes. Dunno, but working in both, the vagaries of fate ("must") and pugnacious spirit ("contest") in that line might be the better option of these two. Or some such.
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